Stems: erect, strict, simple, retrorse-hispid on the angles. Leaves: firm, lanceolate, oblong, almost sessile, acute at the apex, subcordate at the base, dentate. Flowers: in clusters, forming an elongated interrupted spike.

The Woundwort has from six to ten reddish-purple flowers in each of the whorls that encircle its stem at intervals, and also bears a terminal cluster at the top. Stachys means "a spike," and refers to its elongated flower-spikes, while palustris signifies "growing in swamps," and is therefore peculiarly appropriate to this plant, which frequents very moist places. Probably it is sometimes called Hedge Nettle because the leaves resemble those of the true Nettle, but without the stinging properties of the latter. Stachys is a very hairy plant, its leaves and stems being all covered with quantities of fine hairs, and Gerade claims to have cured wounds by binding it over the cuts, and in olden days these plants were frequently employed to stop bleeding, hence the name of Woundwort.